Tullamore birthday bash draws 60,000 for rural celebration
Published 15/08/2016 | 02:30
More than 60,000 spectators turned out to celebrate the Tullamore Show's 25th birthday bash on the vast 250-acre Butterfield Estate in Co Offaly yesterday.
Despite a misty morning start, the rain stayed at bay as visitors, participants, exhibitors and organisers demonstrated the strength and vitality of all things agricultural.
The AIB National Live show featured impressive dairy, pedigree and commercial cattle, sheep shearing, sheepdog and poultry competitions, with a total prize fund of €168,000.
Pigs also made their Tullamore Show debut as they vied for the 'All-Ireland Pig Champion' crown.
Other highlights included more than 700 exhibitor areas, a country music jamboree starring Michael English, cooking tutorial with celebrity chef Nevin Maguire, over 700 trade stands, a rare animal breed corner and flower, needle work and art exhibitions.
Officially opening the show, Andrew Doyle, Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, urged young professionals to "get involved" in farming.
"In a year like this when there's been challenges across the commodity sectors, we need to remember that without a vibrant primary production sector, the rest of the chain falls down," he said.
He said the show is testament to the world class quality stock produced across the country.
"These quality livestock are a visual representation of our food production sector, one of our most important indigenous sectors," he said.
Rodney Cox, chairman of the Tullamore Show, who is recovering from farm accident, said it was "a perfect day".
"There is something lovely about an agricultural show, it's very warm and inviting because no matter where you're from or your background, people are drawn to agricultural events," he said. "This is a great indicator for the ploughing (Championship), two great shows, they are intertwined and compliment each other."
Nora Walsh (92) from Kilkenny is a show veteran, with four generations of her family showing their remarkable Charolais pedigree bulls over the last three decades.
"I love going to the shows. I love walking around and seeing the winners. I'm very proud to see my family carrying on the tradition," she said.
James Phelan, from Garryhill, Carlow, was on the road at 6am to compete at the event. "I've had success here before," he said. "I won in Tinahely but it's all down to the judges on the day."